With just days to go before everyone went to trial, Sunmer Redstone and Manuela Herzer have finally laid down their legal arms.
In a January 4 dated agreement announced today just before a scheduled hearing in downtown Los Angeles, representatives for the 95-year old media mogul and his former long-time companion now have ended almost all of their court battles after over three years of filings flying back and forth.
Coming less than a month after probate attorney Samuel Ingham, III was declared the guardian ad litem for the speech impaired nonagenarian, the deal will see Herzer paying back billionaire Redstone approximately $3.25 million from the gifts he showered her with over the years of their relationship. An affair which ended in tears and exile from Redstone’s Beverly Hills palace in 2015. Herzer has 45 days to make the repayment, according to the settlement.
Of course, with an army of lawyers at their disposal, the Redstones have some skin in the settlement game too. “Moreover, the Redstone Releasors and the Redstone Releasees covenant not to sue, or to cause or encourage any other person to sue, the Herzer Releasees under any legal or equitable theory or principle pertaining to the Redstone Claims,” the 17-day agreement states.
The deal, which basically keeps Herzer and her family as far away from Redstone as is possible, emerged out of mediation talks between both sides that started in early December, I hear. Those discussions continued throughout the month to wrap up just before the holidays. The agreement became public only today because various sign-offs and signatures had to be collected in recent days.
Avoiding the spectacle of a trial, the very nature of the agreement hints in some ways that more might be at work in the greater Redstone Empire. As the Redstone dominated CBS searches for a permanent CEO to replace the disgraced Les Moonves, who resigned in September as more accusations of sexual misconduct on the once powerful executive’s part became public, talks for a possible merger between the company and once parent company Viacom look to be in the cards again in the not too distant future.
Certainly, today’s settlement fills a potential pothole that could have hindered that long-time design of Shari Redstone, who now effectively rules in her father’s aged absence. With a seemingly particular hate-on for Herzer even before the companion was tossed out of the elder Redstone’s life in 2015, the National Amusements president and CBS and Viacom vice-chairwomen was widely assumed to be behind the various suits her father launched in response.
Trying to get back into the notoriously acerbic mogul’s good books and home, Herzer’s first case was dismissed in May 2016 by LA Superior Court Judge David Cowan after a video of the elder Redstone distinctly indicating he did not want her in his life was played in closed court.
Since then, the once fierce executive’s mental capacity, daily habits, health care regime secretly obtained footage and allegations of manipulation by his daughter and others have all been strewn across the legal table as larger forces of corporate control have played out in the boardroom background. Add to that, both Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and CBS’ Moonves, who took NAI and the Redstones to court in Delaware last spring for breaches of fiduciary duty, have been removed from their perches, changing the narrative and leaving Shari Redstone firmly in power – as she truly is now.